Living rurally in New Zealand shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing adequate healthcare. That’s why Ella Guy is working to change this by developing a device to record respiratory data which can then be used by doctors to create more accurate at-home patient care plans.
Ella, who grew up in New Plymouth, is completing her Engineering PhD at the University of Canterbury with a focus on respiratory data collection for communities with limited access to specialist care.
“Currently, you can only get in-frequent data from people who live in communities far from a doctor or specialist.
“That data comes only when they visit a doctor and get tested, which, gives a snapshot in time.
“That one visit could be a good day or a bad day – either way, there isn’t enough information, so it won’t give the best data for doctors to evaluate and make decisions about long-term care.”
Ella’s ultimate goal is to tackle health literacy, she says.
“I believe that the increasing burden our healthcare system is under demands attention and focus in order to ensure people are afforded equitable access to services and healthcare workers are provided with the right information and tools to do their job confidently.”
Ella’s passion lies in the digitisation of healthcare, which stemmed from her time in a Ugandan hospital witnessed the many compromises involved in healthcare - especially in places with limitations to access.
Engineering was not something Ella thought she would be interested in, however, after attending a space school in America and realising that engineering involved both technical and creative problem-solving, Ella knew she’d found her career.
“For me, engineering comes down to challenging things – why do we do something a certain way, or why not?
“I like to challenge why we do things and how we can make improvements. Ultimately, it’s quite fun.”
‘Beep beep beep’. The familiar yet annoying sound of my phone alarm going off in the morning for work cuts through my sleep. Bleary-eyed, I sleepily click it off as I get ready for another day at work.
Trudy Caljé-Van Der Klei's ultimate goal in engineering is to help people, but she also wants to inspire the new generation of wāhine and people of colour.